Gordon Jay "Mac" McClellen, a former long-time resident of Sierra Vista, passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at his home in Tucson, surrounded by his loving family. He was 79 years old. He valiantly and courageously battled a rare degenerative brain disorder, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), for the past several years, until his body could no longer fight the horrendous effects of this debilitating disease.
Gordon began his life on August 17, 1941, in Benson, Minnesota, as the youngest of three children born to George and Evelyn McClellen. After graduating from Benson High School, Gordon joined the U.S. Army and served his country proudly and honorably for 26 years, retiring at the rank of Command Sergeant Major (CSM). His last duty assignment was CSM of the 40th Signal Battalion, Fort Huachuca. He had numerous accomplishments during his military career and served at a number of duty stations, including in Vietnam, Germany, and Panama, as well as multiple stateside locations. During his initial assignment in Germany, Gordon met his first wife, Brigitte Klamm, and they were married in 1963. Gordon and Brigitte were blessed with two children, Michaela Denise and Brian George. Michaela and Brian were raised as Army brats and had countless memorable adventures with their dad as he served stateside and abroad.
After retiring from the Army, Gordon settled down into civilian life in Sierra Vista and began his second career as the business manager for COR INC. During this time he served on the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was active in several other civic organizations. Gordon embarked on his final career with H&M Associates—a defense contracting firm he founded with his former colleague and long-time friend Bill Hicks—and helped lead the company to many successful years of business.
In 1996 Gordon married Lisa Jensen. Two years later, the fatherhood journey began again for Gordon when he and Lisa welcomed their son Rylee Jaydon. Although the idea of starting the parenting mission again later in life scared Gordon a tad, he quickly adjusted and became a fiercely devoted father, coaching Rylee’s Little League teams and supporting him on the course during his four years on the Buena High School golf team.
Gordon was a sports enthusiast and enjoyed nearly every sport known to mankind. Those who knew him knew of his intense passion for golf and his great talent on the course. Perhaps his proudest of countless accomplishments on the links was the coveted hole-in-one that he achieved in January 1990. When not on the golf course, he could usually be found watching both college and professional sports on TV; he especially relished cheering on his beloved Minnesota Vikings. Gordon also loved to travel and experience different cultures. Over the years, he and Lisa journeyed to many countries across Europe and Australia, always with their son in tow. They also enjoyed numerous road trips across the U.S. as well as semiannual trips to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
No one who met Gordon will forget his charismatic, larger-than-life personality. When Gordon McClellen walked into a room, everyone knew it. His presence was commanding and his laughter enormously infectious. Gordon took social cues from no one, and more than a few will affectionately recall his knack for telling it as he saw it. Gordon will be remembered for many things, but his most treasured achievement was his devotion to his wife, children, and grandchildren. Family was his highest priority. He lived a full life, and the memories he takes with him have more value than all the gold and silver in the world.
Gordon will be deeply missed by his loving wife of 24 years, Lisa; three children, Michaela (Joe) Bortle, Brian McClellen, and Rylee McClellen; five grandchildren, Krystal (Gavin) Timms, Kanen (Kayla) McClellen, Justice McClellen, Airius McClellen, and Cheyenne (Christian) Moore; three great-grandchildren, Amberlin, Tyson, and Ella Grace; his sister, Alice Anderson, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. Preceding him in death were his first wife, Brigitte; parents, George and Evelyn McClellen; and sister, Ruth Priebe.
The family wishes to thank the extraordinary caregivers who so lovingly cared for Gordon throughout his illness; the exemplary care he received enhanced his quality of life immeasurably in the final stages of his illness. The family also wishes to express its enormous gratitude to Emblem Hospice in Tucson for the phenomenal care they provided to Gordon over the past year.
Services will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 11, at Hatfield Funeral Home in Sierra Vista. Friends are invited to offer condolences and share their memories of Gordon prior to the service, starting at 1:00 p.m. A reception will immediately follow at the American Legion post in Sierra Vista. Gordon will be laid to rest at the Fort Huachuca Old Post Cemetery during a private burial service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions by making a tribute gift in Gordon’s name to the CurePSP organization to ensure that Gordon’s legacy lives by providing life-changing support to others dealing with devastating prime-of-life nuerodegeneration. Online gifts can be made at www.psp.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gordon Jay McClellen, please visit our floral store.